This grant was originally approved for 2020, but the project was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project goal: Rehabilitate a high country meadow by shifting a section of the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail and restoring wetland habitat.

Why this work matters: Sierra Nevada meadows support a huge array of life and store critical water supplies that help plants and animals survive dry months. They’re also vulnerable to impacts from human activity — including the increasing number of hikers and backpackers on the John Muir and Pacific Crest trails, which cross multiple Yosemite meadows.

The JMT and PCT overlap in Yosemite as they head south from Tuolumne Meadows to Donohue Pass, with a particularly popular section cutting through Ranger Meadow, between the Tuolumne Ranger Station and Tuolumne River. Over time, people and pack mules heading to the river, to Tuolumne Meadows Lodge or to Lyell Canyon have inadvertently forged ruts in Ranger Meadow by stepping off the trail to avoid muddy sections. The ruts disrupt water flow, hasten erosion, impede plant growth and imperil the meadow’s health.

This project aims to save the meadow while improving hiking experiences on the JMT/PCT. Park crews will relocate the trail to a more durable, well-drained area, and they will restore wetland habitat by repairing ruts, loosening soil, re-establishing natural topography and planting native vegetation.

How your support helps: Your donations provide essential funding, so Yosemite trail and restoration crews can revitalize a meadow ecosystem in a well-traveled part of the park and ensure the long-term sustainability of a popular hiking route. (For evidence of how effective this approach can be, take a stroll in Lyell Canyon, where healthy habitat is rebounding after a donor-supported project moved a stretch of the JMT/PCT out of a once deeply rutted meadow.)

Partnering with Yosemite National Park.

Victoria Hartman

Restoration Ecologist, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

"Sierra meadows are highly diverse plant communities that act as sponges, retaining water throughout the drier season and supporting wetland plant and animal species."